Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Junior linemates James Wright of Tampa Bay Lightning and Evander Kane of Atlanta Thrashers play first NHL games vs. each other

ATLANTA — Every now and then, you come across a nice story.

Or a "neat" one, as Thrashers LW Evander Kane called it. Or a "weird" one, Lightning LW James Wright said.

The former junior teammates played their first NHL games Saturday against each other. Both are trying to impress their teams, which have nine games to decide whether to send them back to Vancouver of the Western Hockey League. Kane was the No. 4 overall pick in June's draft. Wright, the surprise of Tampa Bay's camp, was No. 117 in 2008.

"James Wright is a hard-working guy, a guy that had a good year last year, especially down the stretch," said Kane, who got his first NHL point, an assist, in Atlanta's 6-3 win. "He's a great skater, he's really quick, and he reads the play well and is not afraid to go to the dirty areas to have success."

Kane, 18, with offense on his mind, and Wright, 19, a better forechecker and straight-ahead player, were on the same line the last two weeks of last season and through the WHL playoffs.

They have stayed in touch, mainly by text-messaging, and their coaches — Atlanta's John Anderson and Tampa Bay's Rick Tocchet — said they don't expect to see the dropoffs in play that affect many younger players entering the league.

"We're both just happy to be on NHL teams," Wright said. "It doesn't really matter to me who is on the other side. I'm just happy to be in my first NHL game."

OATES ON BOARD: The thing captain Vinny Lecavalier likes about new assistant coach Adam Oates is that he talks the game.

"Some guys are good players, some guys just do it, but he's a great teacher," Lecavalier said. "He knows the game and explains it well." Which is why, he said, players were thrilled when Oates, who coached the power play during preseason as an unpaid consultant, signed a one-year deal.

"You could just tell the way he does things," Lecavalier said. "He came in to help, and he really did. He's really involved, and the guys appreciated that."

As well as the power play's 24.1 percent preseason success rate.

"We're all excited to have someone with his knowledge," C Steven Stamkos said. "He really helped our power play in the couple of weeks he's been here, and it's only going to get better and easier once we get to know each other from a player-coach perspective."

NO REST, NOT WEARY: We know D Victor Hedman is a special talent, but he also is fairly unique in that he foregoes the multihour pregame nap most players enjoy.

"If I sleep, I feel lazy, and I don't want that to happen, so I stayed awake," said the rookie, who played in his first NHL game and got an assist.

What does he do instead?

"Watch TV."

How does he keep from disturbing Wright, his roommate?

"I'm quiet," Hedman said

ODDS AND ENDS: D Kurtis Foster left the game in the second with a lower-back injury he said should not keep him out of Tuesday's game at Carolina. … The Lightning is 9-6-0 with two ties in season openers and 5-12-0 in their first game of the season on the road. … Defensemen David Hale, Lukas Krajicek and Matt Smaby were scratched.

Junior linemates James Wright of Tampa Bay Lightning and Evander Kane of Atlanta Thrashers play first NHL games vs. each other 10/03/09 [Last modified: Sunday, October 4, 2009 10:14am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion

    Golf

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.